Hello SOTGC community,
Amazing things happen when people connect: A displaced worker finds a new career. A homeless person becomes a healthy member of the community. Farmers are harvesting crops for the first time from new well water. A sick child is receiving expert care. People are transforming their communities. When we are able to multiply the impact of individual efforts, we transform lives, our communities, and our planet. Connie Pheiff Speaks CSR collaborative programs are leading efforts to sustain communities through partnerships and innovative programs with how we do responsible business everyday by joining together social collaboration and public associations.
What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?
“CSR is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. CSR policy functions as a built-in, self-regulating mechanism whereby a business monitors and ensures its active compliance with the spirit of the law, ethical standards, and international norms.”
I work with corporations that take the extra step towards CSR. Implementation of CSR goes beyond compliance and will engage in actions that appear to further some social good, beyond the interest of the business and which are required by law. CSR is a process with the aim to embrace responsibility for the business strategic goals and encourage a positive impact through its activities towards the environment, employees, consumers, stakeholders, and members of the community.
Why is it important?
We can agree that CSR will not solve the world’s problems. CSR provides companies a benefit to themselves while benefiting the public. When I discuss CSR I get varied reactions to its importance. Here is where I step onto my soapbox, declaring the responsibility of Corporate America: You give for the greatest good. Forbes (2012), suggests six reasons companies should embrace CSR:
- Innovation – Is this term often overused? If you Google the word “innovation” you will get nearly 243,000 results. In the context of CSR, innovation is a huge benefit to both the corporation and society.
- Cost Savings – General Mills installed energy-monitoring meters and several pieces of equipment at its Covington, Ga., plant, and the company saved $600,000. This money can now be used to provide and support community programs.
- Brand Differentiation – Companies are finding their voice when they create a CSR culture. Timberland was able to find its voice and incorporate the company’s values into its business model.
- Long-Term Thinking – Developing a CSR culture is an effort to look at the company’s long-term interest and ensure the company’s future is sustainable. Many will interchange CSR to sustainability.
- Customer Engagement – Embracing CSR will allow your customers to see a business in a new way. The message is about something “good,” an easier message where customers can relate. It’s a high impact, underused tool for business communication.
- Employee Engagement – If the employees don’t know or understand how the embrace CSR, the organization is missing a great opportunity. Good employees are hard to find. Many corporations are creating cross-functional, global-sustainability working teams to help create a strategy for sustainability.
Beyond grass-roots level initiative, companies need to activate employees in community service projects that are in alignment with its CSR priorities. Community-engaged employees are happy employees. It is a known fact that it will cost a company up to three times to replace an employee than it is to create a sustainable program.
If I keep researching, I would find many more reasons why companies should embrace corporate social responsibility. In truth, companies will become involved for different reasons.
Top Corporate Social Responsible Companies
Earlier this year, the Reputation Institute, a private global consulting firm based in New York conducted research by inviting about 47,000 consumers across 15 media markets to participate. The studies rank the world’s 100 most reputable companies – all multinational businesses with a global presence.
The outcome found that “42% of how people feel about a company is based on their perceptions of the firm’s Corporate Social Responsibility” (Forbes, 2014).
Here is the top 10
- The Walt Disney Company
- LEGO Group
Were there any surprises? Corporations need to examine how to spend their money if they expect to see a return on investment. CSR is giving back to the community, provides a major impact on reputation-management strategy; enhances customer loyalty, employee engagement, and increases the bottom line. Only a few companies get it right. And those who do…are reaping the rewards.
What do you think? Ready to take corporate responsibility into your own hands? If so then please Tweet or post to LinkedIn and help spread the message.
With more than 25 years of nonprofit management experience, Connie Pheiff has raised approximately $200 million for national social service organizations and business associations. Prior to leading her own company in September 2006, Ms. Pheiff held positions as the Chief Executive Officer for United Way, Girl Scouts of Penn’s Woods Council, Director of a local and United States Chamber of Commerce where she led fundraising enterprises. She holds a Master of Public Administration and Organizational Innovation with a minor in Speech Communication. Ms. Pheiff teaches online courses on sponsorships, philanthropy, and Corporate Social Responsibility.